Essential Reads

Water Games

Let us revisit a negotiation over drinking water in the German heartland.

What Happens When the Whole Family Plays with Food?

“Family therapy can be helpful; family dinner is transformative.”

Democracy and the Pro-social Impulse

Can there be democracy without idealism?

Tom Brady Broke the Rules, But Don't We All?

What "Deflategate" can teach us about human nature

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a powerful method of overcoming trauma via the mind-body connection, and often without medication. This piece by Saint-Laurent and Bird is a great introduction for those considering the treatment as well as for therapists interested in SE training.

Part Two: Four Words that Get Buy-In

Here in part two, I’ll cover the next three words that can increase buy-in in even the most change resistant employees.

Good Negotiators Focus on Their Resources

By Art Markman Ph.D. on March 24, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
Life is full of negotiations. Buying a car involves reaching an agreement with a dealer about the sale price. Going out with friends on a Saturday night may trade off the movie your friends want to see against the restaurant where you want to eat. Parents and children may haggle over how much homework has to be done before video games can be played.

Part One: Four Words that Get Buy-In

Sometimes your message is right on. Sometimes you've just got to change the "packaging" so that your message is received instead of resisted. Here is the first of four words I use to create impossible amounts of engagement and enthusiasm in people where seemingly none existed before.

What's Really, Really Important

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 23, 2015 in Ambigamy
Want a formula for figuring out what's truly important? We all do. Here's what we do since there isn't one.

The 13 Essential Traits of Good Friends

How does your Friendship Quotient measure up? Here are 13 key personal traits that strongly influence friendship quality.

Be A Selectrician, Wiring Yourself For Sound Growth

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 20, 2015 in Ambigamy
We are creatures of our environments. Do what you can to wire up your environment so it grows you in the directions you want to grow.

The Politics of Pizza

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on March 20, 2015 in Hidden Motives
We think of pizza by the slice, sometimes a whole pie, so we haven’t noticed how big an industry it has become. But Big Pizza is as big as virtually anything else in our economy – and as political.

Mistat: How the other guy becomes the one who started it

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 19, 2015 in Ambigamy
It's popularly understood that game theory suggests that tit for tat is a common, appropriate strategy. If you're attacked, attack back. But this simple version of game theory overlooks a human problem with tit for tat: Often an attack is ambiguous. We mistake an innocuous move as an attack and tat when we haven't been titted.

Playing to Win

Conventional wisdom about making better judgments and decisions consists of methods for reducing biases and errors. But this is a defensive strategy, playing not to lose. We can do better. By trying to foster insights and discoveries, we can play to win.

New Study Suggests Key to Managing Millennials

By Victor Lipman on March 17, 2015 in Mind of the Manager
Research indicates the answer lies in one word: coaching.

Sometimes It Is Better to Have No Alternatives

By Art Markman Ph.D. on March 17, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
When people are negotiating, they generally feel more comfortable when they have a back up offer. It is common to hear people say, “Worst case scenario, at least I have…”

Are Patients Harmed When Doctors Explain Things too Simply?

By Peter A. Ubel on March 17, 2015 in Critical Decisions
Sometimes fast-thinking is not so good. Which raises an interesting question for physicians trying to help patients navigate important medical decisions: Will they harm patients by explaining things so simply that patients make fast, erroneous choices?

3 Reasons You (or Someone You Know) Crave the Apple Watch

If you've found yourself craving an Apple Watch (even though you don't think you really need one), you're not alone. Here are three insights about how Apple has tapped into our psychology to create desire.

The Psychology of Online Customization

The decision to buy a customized product is mediated by a number of unconscious factors that shape the customers’ final decision.

Why Many Rich People Are Frugal

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on March 06, 2015 in How To Do Life
The unusual mindset of many rich people...and why you might want to adopt it.

Tips for Sharing Bad News

By Kerry Patterson on March 06, 2015 in Crucial Conversations
Giving bad news to others can be troublesome—particularly when the person you’re giving the bad news to holds you responsible—and you’re not. Here's how to share bad news the right way.

Abundance, Inequality, Needs, and Privilege

I am immensely curious to understand the obstacles to having gift economy experiences be the norm rather than the exception. In this post, I am writing about one piece of this huge puzzle that fell into place for me: why the idea of “deserving” might have come into existence, and how it’s related to the difficulties in establishing gifting and collaboration.

The Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 05, 2015 in Ambigamy
Knowledge is knowing; Wisdom is wondering still. Those who stay wise have high Returns On Divestment, experience getting a good payoff from changing their minds.

Negative Interest

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on March 05, 2015 in Hidden Motives
This is odd: “about $3 trillion of assets in Europe and Japan … now have negative interest rates.”

Why You Need to Unplug for 24 Hours

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on March 04, 2015 in Singletons
Everyone from your boss to your child’s teachers expects you to be connected and be reachable 24/7. What a relief it can be to unplug for one day and not be at the mercy of your “screens.” What happens when you unplug for a whole day?

Q & A with R. Thaler on What It Really Means to Be a "Nudge"

By Peter A. Ubel on March 04, 2015 in Critical Decisions
Nudge is one of the most important and influential books on behavioral science and public policy I’ve ever read.

Employers Trust Single Lesbians and Married Straight Women

Marital status, gender, and sexual orientation biases do effect hiring decisions—but not necessarily in the ways you'd expect.

Why We are all More Rational than Mr. Spock

By Eyal Winter on February 28, 2015 in Feeling Smart
Mr. Spock, Emotions, Super Rationality, Leonard Nimoy

Should We Fan the Romantic Flame?

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in In the Name of Love
All human experiences, including romantic ones, can be boring. The remedy for boredom is often change and novelty. Should we then change our romantic partners in order to fan our romantic flames? Although change is indeed essential to emotional intensity, there are several types of changes, and emotional intensity is far from being the whole story when it comes to romance.

Heavy Shifting

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in Consumed
Resolved to go to the gym? Now help us solve a common problem at the gym.

How New Payment Technology Can Manipulate You

By Nir Eyal on February 23, 2015 in Automatic You
Digital payment systems use subtle tactics to increase tips, and while it’s certainly good for hard-working service workers, it may not be so good for your wallet. Here's the hidden psychology of why you unconsciously pay more.

Banking Reform Comes Through the Back Door

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in Hidden Motives
​After many high profile failures to reform banking, thwarted by the power of the banking lobby, including efforts to break up banks “too big to fail,” it now seems that a simple and obvious rule has made a significant difference.

Real Affluence

By Michael F. Kay on February 19, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
We confuse Time and Money and what we truly value.

Are Commercials More Deceptive Than Ever?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 19, 2015 in How To Do Life
Advertising’s new efforts to manipulate us require us to be savvier.